Automated Fabrication ofCeramic Components from Tape-Cast Ceramic
This paper describes a machine and process for automated fabrication of functional 3-D laminated engineering components, ceramics in the present example. A laser cuts successive layers of a part derived from a CAD model description out of unfired tape-cast ceramic sheets vacuum-clamped to an x-y sled. A material-handling robot uses a selective-area gripper to extract only the desired part outlines from the surrounding waste material, then stacks the slices to build the part. This system design enables rapid manufacture of functional engineering components with arbitrarily complex internal and external geometries from virtually any material available in sheet form.